In Rare Move, Top American Rabbinical Leader Unequivocally Endorses Trump

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

A leading American rabbinical figure has, for the first time, urged American Jews to vote for the reelection of President Donald Trump, declaring the current state of affairs as “frightening” and a possible Trump loss in November as “worrisome.”

In a rare statement published this weekend in Mishpacha a popular weekly publication among the Orthodox Jewish community — Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, a preeminent leader of American ultra-Orthodox Jewry, unequivocally endorsed Donald Trump for the 2020 election.

While being interviewed by Mishpacha, Kamenetsky expressed his concern with the social unrest taking place throughout major cities. “You see the matzav [situation], the anarchy … it’s frightening,” Kamenetsky said. 

Lamenting the rise of secularism and attacks on religion and religious institutions, the rabbi stated that “God” has become a dirty word in much of America while religion and religious institutions have become the enemy, adding that if Trump does not win in November, it would be “worrisome.

Asked if he was endorsing President Trump for a second term, Kamenetsky replied, “Yes, I think people should vote for him. He’s done a good job. It’s hakaras hatov,” using the Hebrew words for gratitude. 

Kamenetsky, head of the renowned Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, sits on the rabbinical advisory board of Agudath Israel of America, the ultra-Orthodox world’s leading lobbying and advocacy organization. 

Though the majority of American Jews vote for Democrats, the Orthodox Jewish community has increasingly favored Republican candidates in recent years. While, in 2013, a Pew Research Center survey found that 64 percent of ultra-Orthodox Jews considered themselves to be politically conservative; in 2018, 91 percent of Orthodox Jews surveyed by Jewish weekly Ami Magazine gave President Trump favorable ratings — with 82 percent saying they would support him again in 2020.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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